The Syracuse Mets scored four runs in the top of the ninth inning to beat the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, 7-3, on Friday night at Coca-Cola Park. Cheslor Cuthbert hit a go-ahead, two-run home run in the ninth to propel the Mets to the win.
Syracuse (40-62-1) entered the top of the ninth inning tied with Lehigh Valley, 3-3. Wilfredo Tovar led off with a single. Cuthbert followed with a pinch-hit, go-ahead, two-run home run on a ball he crushed over the left-field wall to give the Mets a 5-3 lead. After David Rodriguez grounded out, Khalil Lee walked, Orlando Calixte singled, and Mark Payton walked to load the bases. With José Martínez batting, a passed ball allowed Lee to score and the other two runners to advance, giving Syracuse a 6-3 edge. Martínez struck out, but David Thompson hit a two-out single into right field to bring home Calixte to put Syracuse up by four, 7-3.
Mets reliever Tom Hackimer came out of the bullpen to pitch the bottom of the ninth. Despite walking a batter and giving up a single, his first hit allowed after eight hitless appearances, Hackimer struck out three Lehigh Valley hitters to close out the game and secure the win for Syracuse. Hackimer has still not allowed a run in nine and one-third innings pitched with the Mets.
Syracuse scored the game’s first runs in the first inning. José Peraza and Mark Payton both singled to begin the game. Martínez followed with a single of his own that scored Peraza to give the Mets a 1-0 lead. Thompson then worked a walk to load the bases. Brandon Drury grounded into a double play, but Payton scored for a 2-0 advantage. With Martínez at third base and two outs, Tovar doubled down the left-field line, bringing home Martínez as Syracuse led, 3-0, after the top of the first.
Mets starting pitcher Josh Walker did not allow a run through the first five innings he pitched, but Walker ran into trouble in the sixth.
Lehigh Valley (47-56) came all the way back in the bottom of the sixth. Cornelius Randolph led off with a single. Two batters later, with one out, Mickey Moniak doubled to put runners at second and third base. T.J. Rivera followed with a double that scored both Randolph and Moniak to cut the Syracuse lead to one, 3-2. Walker struck out the next batter, Darick Hall, for the second out of the frame, and that was the last batter Walker faced. Franklyn Kilomé came out of the bullpen for Syracuse, but Tyler Heineman lined a double to right field that scored Rivera and tied the game, 3-3. Kilomé then struck out Gamboa to end the inning.
Walker finished the night with five and two-thirds innings pitched, six hits, three runs, and a walk allowed, and four strikeouts. Kilomé pitched two and one-third scoreless frames, and Hackimer pitched the scoreless ninth.
Syracuse and Lehigh Valley continue their six-game series with a doubleheader on Saturday at Coca-Cola Park. First pitch of game one is at 4:35 p.m. The second game will start approximately 30-40 minutes after the finish of the first game.
Kyle leads sports coverage and hosts the Concrete Jungle podcast. Have a lead or question? Send it to [email protected].